Colombia 2 Ivory Coast 1: Three talking points

Colombia 2 Ivory Coast 1: Three talking points as James Rodriguez and Juan Quintero fire their side to victory

By Josh Nicholls
Colombia
2
Ivory Coast
1

Colombia outsiders, Ivory Coast pretenders

These two teams will have been many peoples’ outside bet for the tournament – the obvious big names apart – before a ball was kicked. In a match that would most likely decide who would win Group C, it was the South Americans who lived up to the hype. Like their compatriots Chile, they have an alternative style of play which incorporates hard work, tactical nous and flair. The defence and midfield combine limited footballers with an impeccable attitude with a sprinkling of star quality, namely from James Rodriguez. The Monaco player produced a complete performance winning tackles, scoring a header, managing the ball flawlessly and like all his team-mates working exceptionally hard. Although tireless lone striker Teo Gutierrez is not a clinical finisher the variation and angles Colombia create with their 4-2-3-1 going forward will ask questions of any team. The Ivory Coast on the other hand for all their obvious physical attributes they lack guile, with Gervinho the only player looking capable of unlocking defensive doors. They saved their best football for when they went 2-0 down when they had no choice but to throw men forward and even though they worried the Colombians in the latter stages over the course of the whole game they did not deserve a result.

Colombia vulnerable defensively

Jose Pekerman’s side are now all but through to the last 16 and going forward they will be a match for any opposition. However defensively they could be found out by sides with more creativity than the Ivory Coast. Gervinho, who in the Premier League was mercurial at best for Arsenal, tormented their defenders at times. Mario Yepes is towering in the air but slow along the ground while his partner, Cristian Zapata, is quick along the ground but prone to a lapse of concentration. Full-backs Cristian Zuniga and Pablo Armero for all their good work in forward areas, look susceptible to attcks in one-on-one situations.

Ivory Coast should start Drogba against Greece

His powers may not be what they once were, but for presence alone, Drogba remains the key man for the Ivory Coast. As Yaya Toure struggled to replicate his Manchester City form, Drogba’s arrival seemed to lift the doubt in the minds of his team-mates and they produced a rousing final 20 minutes, nearly snatching a draw. Drogba battled up front but merely the fact that he was on the field rather than particularly what he did on the field seemed to get an extra 10 per cent out of his team-mates.

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